Having relationships or friendships with anyone will bring with it hard and painful times because love is about more than positivity and happiness.
It’s about who you stand beside and who stands beside you when things are ugly.
It’s easy to love someone when times are good. It’s when things are not so good that we get to see the depth and strength of love.
And that’s why it is vital to be able to keep yourself happy when you’re in the troubled times of a marriage.
Every marriage and long-term relationship is going to have some hard, rocky times that the partners will need to navigate together.
Just because the relationship is unhappy now, doesn’t mean that it always will be, especially if both partners are committed to making it work.
So it would be unwise to give up on your marriage just because it is unhappy right now.
How can I stay happy in my unhappy marriage?
The best way to fuel your happiness is to focus on things that are important to you but are not harmful to the already rocky relationship.
By focusing on self-improvement and fulfilling activities for yourself, you can help strengthen your resolve and well-being, which will carry through into your relationship.
1. Engage in solo activities that you find enjoyable.
Do you have any solo hobbies? Are there any solo hobbies that you’ve always wanted to try but have never found the right opportunity to do so?
Now is an excellent time to dive into them and give yourself some time away from the stress of the unhappy marriage.
Those small breaks where you can focus on something else, learn something new, and have some reprieve from the stress can help keep you in a happier mental space.
2. Engage in self-improvement and exercise.
Self-improvement is a great way to build your self-esteem and personal happiness.
Find an exercise routine that works well for you and make it a regular part of life.
Learn how to meditate and follow some guided meditations.
Work on fixing the personal problems that are preventing you from living a happier life.
There are likely things that you want to work on that your partner can’t participate in, and this is an excellent time to embrace those to take yourself to the next level.
3. Practice gratitude for what you have in your life.
Gratitude is such a powerful tool for improving personal happiness.
Far too often, we find ourselves focusing on what we don’t have, what our lives are lacking, and what we want more of.
The problem with that is there is always something more to want.
It’s an eternal treadmill and we have to make the conscious choice to step off it if we’re to find some inner peace and happiness.
When you find your thoughts wandering to your problems and what you don’t have, interrupt those thoughts with quiet thanks for what you do have.
Maybe it’s your career, kids, a roof over your head, having food on your table, your health, or the ability to continue building your life into something more significant.
Find some aspects of your partner to be grateful for as well.
Maybe they’re a great parent, take care of the home, or have other positive qualities about them that you are thankful for.
There are undoubtedly some things since you chose to marry them!
4. Stop fighting about the same things.
There are times when something breaks in a relationship that takes a long time to put back together.
You may find yourself fighting with your partner in circles over a particular thing, and that argument never seems to go anywhere.
At some point, you have to decide whether or not the particular battle is worth fighting over.
Circular arguments with no end in sight drain you of valuable emotional energy and happiness.
That doesn’t mean that you should just let everything slide, mainly if there is a significant problem to be addressed.
It does mean learning to identify whether or not an argument is productive.
5. Get out of the house more often.
A little distance can be a good thing.
You need a break from a home life that is becoming a constant source of stress and worry.
Get out of the house and do some more things.
Go for walks, get a part-time job if you don’t already have one, do a little volunteer work to put some more good in the world that you can be proud of.
Try not to sit cooped up in your house to dwell on the conflict that you’re currently having in your marriage.
It will build resentment and anger, which will spark more unnecessary arguments, which will further harm your happiness.
6. Develop your social life.
Life is busy when you have a lot going on with your marriage, work, kids, and the general responsibilities of life.
It’s easy to find yourself pruning out unessential activities to try to make time for everything that you need to do.
A mistake that many people in long-term relationships make is that they do not prioritize keeping their social life intact.
Your partner is not a suitable replacement for having other social relationships.
People are social creatures. They need other friends and people to socialize with.
Loneliness is an insidious affliction that slowly saps away happiness, even for people who are introverts.
And it is possible to be lonely in a marriage.
7. Maintain reasonable expectations for your happiness.
A marriage is a big commitment that will take up a big part of your mind and emotions.
It’s reasonable to be unhappy that your marriage is unhappy.
Though you can do things to help you maintain some happiness and peace of mind while you’re working through the rocky times, it’s essential to not fall into a pattern of avoidance about fixing the relationship.
It’s easy to distract and focus on oneself too much to the detriment of marriage and commitment.
The problems won’t get resolved by just ignoring them. They will fester and eventually come back to the surface, more painful and difficult than before.
This type of self-care and preservation of one’s happiness is great in moderation. But there will be the unpleasant work of actually working through the issues that your marriage is experiencing.
If you don’t feel you’re making headway with your partner, it may be a good idea to speak to a marriage counselor who can better guide you through the process of repairing the relationship and rekindling what brought you together in the first place.
Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.
While you can try to work through this situation yourself or as a couple, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many unhappily married couples try to muddle through and do their best to solve problems that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.
One thing to bear in mind is that unrealistic expectations of a perfect, happy marriage can make you more unhappy than you need to be.
Accepting that there will always be some little niggles can help you to find peace with reality, rather than trying to fight against it.
Not all unhappy marriages are worth ending. But there are times when things are just too difficult to fix.
If you married young, you might find that you and your partner have grown up to be different people, in two different directions.
You may find that the common ground that brought you together is no longer there – and that’s okay. That sometimes happens.
Then there are other matters which can irreparably break a marriage. Abuse and infidelity cause damage that leaves deep wounds that can be impossible to work through or heal as a couple.
In that kind of scenario, the better option might be divorce. If it is that serious, it would be a good idea to talk to a counselor about the situation before making any final decisions.
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